Mind the gap, Brighton lesson and Leicester today

I wrote something ahead of the match against Brighton, along the lines of winning would have been a good indicator of where we are. The match actually highlighted how much work there is still to do. It's not a bad thing but we were very fortunate to get a point.

And that point came down to one man again. It's not the first time he's won us points this season and for all that is written about other players, for me and if the season were to end this afternoon, Emiliano Martinez would be my player of the season.


That we left Brighton with a point should be seen as a victory. We were given a footballing lesson and without Martinez could easily have lost by two.

But we're eighth in the table, ahead of Spurs and Arsenal with games in hand. And if we were to win the three games in hand we've got on Liverpool, we'd go above them into the top four. We were given a lesson by Brighton but all things point to us having an off day.

So, all that written, we really do need to focus on Leicester and it is an important game. It' s not must win, but Leicester are doing well and they're a team that it's nice to beat. There is a gap starting to get bigger between us and everyone above us. Winning today would get us to within touching distance.

But it will be tough, especially without Jack. But nothing is impossible and we shouldn't forget that Leicester are just another Brendan Rodgers side.

Match facts from the BBC

Head-to-head

  • Aston Villa won the reverse fixture 1-0 and are looking to complete their first league double over Leicester since the 2003-04 season.
  • Leicester triumphed 4-1 at Villa Park last season. They have never won successive away league games against Villa.

Aston Villa

  • Dean Smith's side have won three of their past four home league matches.
  • All but one of their 11 league victories this season has been earned with a clean sheet, but Villa have lost eight of the 10 games in which they've conceded.
  • Aston Villa have registered 12 clean sheets in their first 22 league fixtures of a season for the first time.
  • The three goals they have conceded in the opening 30 minutes of their league games is the joint-best record in the division this season, along with Manchester City.
  • Villa's solitary victory in their past 20 Premier League matches against a side in the top three came against Liverpool in October (D4, L15).
  • Ollie Watkins can become the first Villa player to score in four consecutive Premier League home matches since Gareth Barry from October to November 2006.

Leicester City

  • The Foxes are unbeaten in their past seven top-flight away matches (W4, D3).
  • Leicester have registered eight away wins this season, a tally they have only twice bettered in the top division. They won 11 times in 2015-16 and nine in 1965-66.
  • They have been awarded a league-high 10 penalties, scoring eight of them.
  • Brendan Rodgers has won all five of his Premier League away games against Aston Villa as a manager, his best record versus another team.
  • Another goal or assist would ensure Jamie Vardy became only the sixth player to be directly involved in 100 Premier League goals since turning 30 years old. He has 81 goals and 18 assists.
  • James Maddison has been involved in eight goals in his past nine league appearances, scoring four and setting up four.